Tag Archives: Goose

Warm and Cuddly Snickerdoodle Cookies

25 Sep

As fall finally starts to roll around, I want something warm and comforting to snuggle up with. This felt like the perfect opportunity to add fuel to the flame of my crazy cookie obsession.

They are perfect for eating warm with a nice glass of milk or a steamy cappuccino. Make these cookies and share them with someone you love. Turn the season premiere of your favorite tv show into a celebratory cookie palooza.

Snickerdoodles fall right behind chocolate chip cookies on the ultimate comfort food scale. These cookies are soft, chewy, and down right addictive. Because there are no overpowering ingredients, the focus is more on the light and fluffy texture.

These cookies are for Goose because not only is he sugar and spice and everything nice (just like the cookies themselves), he also ate them already and won’t complain about me posting a recipe from a few weeks back. Especially if I promise to make some more for him very very soon. Like this weekend soon.

In case you still weren’t already convinced, these snickerdoodles really are that good that they will disappear and force you to remake them again and again. And since they take less than a half hour to whip up, I’m sure you won’t mind filling your house with the scent of warm, cinnamony cookies again.

 

Healthier Snickerdoodle Cookies 

Adapted from ElleFirebrand’s recipe on Food.com

Yield: 24 cookies

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus two tablespoons, divided
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking power, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a mixmaster on medium-high speed, cream together brown sugar, 1/2 cup of white sugar, and butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla and egg white.
  4. Turn the mixmaster down to slow, then gradually add in the dry ingredients.
  5. Once combined, shape the dough into 24 balls and place them on baking trays in the freezer for about a minute to allow them to firm up. Meanwhile combine the remaining 1/8 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  6. Remove the cookie dough from the freezer and roll each ball in sugar mixture, then place them two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use the palm of your hand to lightly flatten the cookie dough balls.
  7. Bake the cookies for about 6 minutes. Allow them to cool on the baking pan for 1 minute before transferring them to cooling racks to finish cooling.

 

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Focusing On What Really Matters With Fluffernutter Chocolate Puddles

17 Jul

Sometimes we all get so caught up in our to-do lists that we lose track of what’s really important. I’ve always struggled with separating the things that I need to do from the things that I want to do. FOr years this has been a constant source of self-inflicted angst. For instance, in high school I would always shoot for the highest A I could get instead of simply being satisfied with a 90%, I used to feel a need to check in with each of the blogs that I read on a daily basis to make sure that I didn’t miss out on anything, and I always tried to publish the greatest possible number of posts here on ModernAlice per week.

While these may be characteristic qualities of perfectionism, a few weeks ago I decided that I wasn’t going to let my goals derail me from simply making the most of every moment and living a bit more spontaneously. Some people may call it slacking off, but I simply call it reevaluating my priorities. Spending time fully focused on my friends, family, and boyfriend is my greatest priority, and I am making sure that my habits and time distribution reflect that.

What this means for my blog is that I may be blogging less frequently and with fewer step-by-step pictures of my baking projects. It also means that when I go out to dinner with my family, I will focus more on the conversation than on snapping blog-worthy photos in hopes of turning a meal into a blog post.

Now back to the cookies….

Goose and my incredible younger sisters helped me whip up these cookies and this recipe was one of my first baby steps toward more spontaneous, relaxed baking. The recipe is pretty simple and adaptable, so this is a great place to start relinquishing my kitchen control.

I baked these cookies twice last year and got rave reviews both times, so instead of spending precious time searching the internet for recipe inspiration, I wanted to share this delicious stand by with you. It combines a slightly healthier peanut butter cookie base with ooey gooey marshmallows and a decadent chocolate glaze. What’s not to love? These are a snap to whip up and a great way to show the people in your life that you care.

This ooey gooey cookie is the antitheses of light and delicate Parisian macarons. It’s a purely American mishmash of beloved flavors: salty peanut butter, sugary marshmallow, and rich chocolate. The cookies are perfect in their imperfection. What matters most about cookies are how delicious they taste, not how beautiful they look. Allow the marshmallows to deform as desires and the chocolate to spread or drizzle however it wants, and simply embrace the puddles of deliciousness.

Fluffernutter Chocolate Puddles 

Adapted from Bakegirl

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown  sugar
  • 
1 egg
1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows (or you can use minis if you prefer)
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate (chips, bars, or chunks)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk (or heavy whipping cream if you want a thicker glaze)
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, then set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the baking soda, salt, and flour. Set the dry mixture aside.
  3. Combine the egg and both sugars in a medium bowl and whisk until the until the mixture becomes pale yellow. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring out the peanut butter, then use a spatula to combine.
  5. Add the flour mixture from step two to the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined.
  6. Roll the cookie dough into balls, then slightly flatten them and place the disks on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 5-7 minutes.
  7. In the meantime prepare the chocolate glaze by placing the butter and chocolate in the bowl of double boiler. Occasionally stir the mixture, then once it’s almost entirely lump-free, whisk in the milk. Set aside.
  8.  Remove the cookies from the oven and lightly press a large marshmallow (or 3-4 small ones) into the top of each cookie and bake for another 2-3 minutes so that the marshmallow softens.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool for 2-3 minutes. Use a fork to lightly drizzle or a spoon to drop the chocolate onto the cookies.
  10. Allow the cookies to cool on baking racks for as long as you can wait, then enjoy!

Exploring Paris, The City I Love With The One I Love

15 Jul

I shared with you my tips for an alternative visit to London already, but now I want to tell you about what I have planned for my few precious days in Paris. Goose will be joining us for the last leg of our European travels, so I’ve been fine-tuning our itinerary so that hopefully he has as much fun in the city of love as I know that I will! Today is our third anniversary and I couldn’t be happier. I truly am the luckiest girl in the world. I can’t wait to celebrate in Paris with you, Goose!

Arc de Triumph

Dine on gourmet goodies at Pierre Herme: VIsit one of his seven Parisian boutique to sink your mouth into any of his inventive confections including the Ice Mosaic (swirled pistachio ice cream with tart cherry sorbet), Croissant Ispahan(Flaky croissant stuffed with rose-flavored almond paste and raspberry-lychee gelée and topped with candied berries), Tarte Peche, Rose & Cumin (Pâte sablée, almond-rose cream, fresh peaches and sugar spiced with cumin). Also make sure to try an assortment of his world-famous macarons in flavors such as Isphan (rose, lychee, & raspberry), Infinment Jasmin (jasmine flower & jasmine tea), Creme Brulee (vanillas & caramel bits), and Infinment Caramel (salted-butter caramel).

City View

Spend an afternoon enjoying Parc de la Villette: Let children and grown men alike indulge their curiosity at Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Europe’s largest science museum, watch an outdoor movie at Cinéma en plein air or catch a concert at either Cabaret Sauvage or Le Trabendo. While you’re there don’t forget to admire the deconstructionist musings of architect Bernard Tschumi and the other contributing designers, as represented in the 20 themed gardens throughout the park. Use the 35 deconstructionist follies to help guide you throughout the park as well. The architect intended for the odd amalgamation of design to serve as a background for cultural interaction.

Sacré-Cœur Basilica by Montmarte 

Art and Literature buffs need to visit Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore for a piece of history: Not so much for the food, but rather for the historical significance, make sure to visit these two rival cafes where Paris’s intellectual elite gathered in the 1920s. Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, and Pablo Picasso favored Les Deux Magots, while  Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre visited both of these intellectual meeting places.

Metro Station

Evade touristy crowds with a visit to Paris’s up-and-coming South Pigalle: Just as Echo Park is starting to replace Silverlake as the new ultra hip, indie neighborhood because Silverlake became too mainstream, South Pigalle is replacing Marais as the new cool neighborhood for youthful, artistic crowds. SoPi, as it’s commonly called is a great place for unique vintage finds, fun clothing boutiques, and even yoga!

Eiffel Tower

Enjoy a memorable dinner in Paris without shelling out bucks for one of the fancy restaurants: Enjoy a romantic evening of gourmet pizza in inventive flavors (like La Ghandi- pizza with spinach sag, mozzarella, and baba ganoush) alongside the Canal Saint-Martin form The Pink Flamingoon Rue Bochat, where upon placing your order you receive a pink balloon that helps delivery men locate you when your pizza is ready. Or soak in iconic Paris with a picnic in the Champ de Mars while gazing at the Eiffel tower. Pick up an assortment of drool-worth picnic basket goodies from anywhere on Rue Cler, Paris’s most famous market street or on Wednesdays or Saturdays get your feast from the Pont de l’Alma Market.

  Me with Monet’s Water Lillies at the Musée de l’Orangerie

Enjoy the best of Parisian art at the Musée d’Orsay or the Musée de l’OrangerieAt the Musée d’Orsay, check out an incredible assortment of impressionist, post-impressionist , and art-nouveau works of art without the overwhelming masses of the Lourve. The architecture of the former train station is almost as breath taking as the art itself. It is just a short (and scenic) walk from the Eiffel Tower. While making your visit to the Jardin des Tuileries, make sure not to miss the intimate Musée de l’Orangerie, hidden in the garden’s southwest corner. Monet’s massive water lily paintings fill two custom-designed rooms, on a scale so large that it is sure to leave you breathless. The hidden-away museum also features an assorted art gallery below. The Musée Picasso, Musée Rodin, Musée Marmottan Monet, and Dalí Espace Montmartre are also popular art museums that are still far more manageable than the ever-looming Louvre.

The Left Bank

Act like a true Parisian by vacationing on the temporary beaches along the Seine for Paris PlagesEnjoy the 10-year old tradition of transforming the Seine into faux beach getaway complete with sand, deck chairs, ice cream, beach volleyball, free book rentals, lake kayaking, and free concerts. It starts on July 20 and lasts for four more weeks as an attempt to keep the locals from fleeing the city during the hottest few weeks of the year.

Notre Dame

Make sure to visit all of Ile de la Cité’s offerings when you come to see Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle: Admire the old-school charm of Ancien Cloître Quartier, the oldest remaining residential quarter on the island. Feel free to meditate with your thoughts or enjoy a novel at Place Dauphine, a small, uncrowded residential park on the island. Buy plants, seeds, and beautiful blossoms at the daily Marché aux Fleurs (Flower Market) and on Sundays check out the Marché aux Oiseaux (BIrd Market) as well. Before heading back to the Paris mainland via one of the bridges, make sure to try one of the 70 ice cream flavors at Berthillon, Paris’s most famous ice cream shop.

**I took these photos on my last trip to Paris, but I will make sure to share new photos in just a few weeks when I return!

Graduation and Some Thoughts on Following Your Passion

24 Jun

Friday was my high school graduation, so I am officially a college girl now! It has been a perfect weekend full of graduation fun. my incredible cousins and godmother flew all the way across the country from Florida to be here to share the big day with me. It was so wonderful to celebrate with two sets of cousins, our family friends from Mommy and Me, my dad’s friend from his twenty-something days, Goose, and his lovely family!

I am so grateful to all of theses people and all of my fantastic friends for making these past four years such an amazing adventure! It is because of the tremendous support of my friends and family that I’ve been able to get into my dream school and have the most fun in my life.

After the ceremony we all went to a lovely outdoor lunch where my mom arranged a delicious menu with pizza, kale caesar salad, raw salmon crudo, minestrone soup, baked salmon, mixed seafood salad, and spaghetti and meatballs. She also got the most beautiful chocolate cake, adorable graduation cake pops, lovely flowers, and adorable balloons. She managed to make lunch at a hotel have all the warmth and personalized touches of a meal a home.

In addition to the fabulous lunch, the celebration has continued throughout the weekend with my fabulous Florida cousins and amazing boyfriend. We had a wonderful Friday night barbecue, Saturday at Disneyland, and today we are off to enjoy the farmer’s market and shopping streets of Santa Monica. The fun just keeps coming!

One of the things that made graduation especially memorable was that I was chosen as one of the graduation speaker. I’m including part of my speech below because I think that it applies not just to my graduating class, but to most everyone.

“I still remember coming to high school for orientation, and getting lost in the winding corridors for a good twenty minutes. I thought to myself, “well this is embarrassing, but at least there are only a few people around to see.” A few days later on the first day of school, I was walking down the staircase in front of the library, when I tripped and fell flat on my face. This time I wasn’t so lucky, because the halls were filled with both my peers and intimidating upperclassmen. Few people noticed, and even fewer seemed to care. While people usually applaud your triumphs, most people are too wrapped up in their own lives to even notice if you stumble along the way. Although we all fear momentary failure and embarrassment, it is our successes for which we will be remembered.

As you venture out into the terrifying real world of esteemed professors, brand new peers, and temperamental bosses, remember that you will fall on your face, either figuratively or literally as in my case, and you will get back up. You are eighteen years old and no one expects you to be perfect. All that matters is that you do what you love and that you do it without fear of failure. Enthusiastically following your passion will get you much farther in life than simply doing what you know you can succeed in. As accomplished film director Jerry Zucker once said, “Ask yourself one question: If I didn’t have to do it perfectly, what would I try?” Let whatever your personal answer to this question is guide you throughout your life. Do what you love, and your passion will make up for whatever natural abilities you may lack. Nothing would be very exciting for long if it came easily, so push yourself to go out of your comfort zone. Take that kitchen chemistry class that interests you, chase that guy or girl who you think may be out of your league, or switch your major finance to sculpture. This is your time to build the life that you want to live, so seize the opportunity to control your own destiny and make every decision count.

Over the past four years, the graduating Class of 2012 has proven that it has the talent and the drive to achieve their goals, however unlikely they may seem to others. As freshmen, no one expected us to win Color Wars, but with our team’s unbeatable spirit, we did! We beat bigger, stronger, more experienced upperclassmen simply with our own determination and desire to win. Ever since our freshmen year, the Class of 2012 has been defying people’s expectations. Our graduating class has had greater academic, athletic, and extracurricular success than anyone ever could have predicted, and going forth into the world, we will continue to achieve the unimaginable.

As we grab hold of our diplomas, we are entering one of the most exciting stages of our lives. The past four years have prepared us for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Have the confidence in our ability to make a difference in the world. Now is our time to fearlessly embrace our passions and make every moment count.”

TGIF with Adorable Animals

8 Jun

Silly me for making a strict deadline that I’m now scrambling to meet. As project manager for our class architecture project, I decided that we should all have our work finished by today, and now I’m the one to pay the price. I have to finish an entire elevation plan today so that over the weekend I can combine all of our plans and written documents to form a cohesive pitch. Over the past few days, the weather has been absolutely perfect so taking leisurely strolls with Goose, going to farmer’s market, and gardening have all seemed much more enticing than staying cooped up inside the architecture studio afternoon.

I don’t regret any of those things at all though! It’s life’s simply pleasures that make it worth living. If staying late to work on a glorious Friday afternoon is the consequence of spontaneously enjoying the little things in life, then it’s a price I’m happy to pay.

With the weekend only a few hours away, I know that it can be hard to stay motivated to keep working. I simply can’t wait for the weekend to start! I’m looking forward to going with Goose to watch his brother’s baseball team in a college playoff game, volunteering with Reading for Kids for the first time, going to a yoga class or two, and having sunday morning brunch then hitting up the local flea market with Goose. What do you have planned this weekend?

Well because tiresome work is unavoidable, I wanted to share some adorable animals with you to brighten your day. A smile or dose of laughter is scientifically proven to increase your productivity, so take a few minutes to relax and enjoy!

From The Bedlam of  Beefy

From Pixdaus

From X Stand Your Ground X Tumblr

From Animal’s Look

From The Berry

From Imgfave on Tumblr

From vi.sualize.us

From Hello World

From Imgfave on Tumblr

From I Can Has Cheezburger

From Piccsy

From Pix o’ Plenty

From Buzz Feed

From Dead Fix

From The Design Inspiration

From CuteCute.Us

From Cutest Paws

Oatmeal Cookies Two Ways: Chocolate-Cherry and Butterscotch-Chip

6 Jun

I know that as summer rolls around, people start choosing frozen treats over baked goods, but I wholeheartedly believe that even during the summer, nothing can beat homemade cookies.

Butterscotch-Chip on the left and Chocolate Cherry on the right

These cookies are for when you just need a good, chewy cookie. The cookies that I have to share with you today are not soft, airy cake cookies, but rather chewy, textured oatmeal cookies. That’s why they’re best served warm with a glass of milk!

Yummy Fillings

Carmely sugar and butter mixture

Sugar mixture plus flour mixture

Dough combined

Mixed again after addition of egg and vanilla

Although my mom has always had a soft spot for  oatmeal raisin cookies, to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan. I always felt like I was getting ripped off by finding yucky raisins instead of chocolate chips in my cookies. Unlike raisins, tangy sour cherries, on the other hand, are delicious. Even still, everything is better with chocolate chips.

Two bowls of basic oatmeal cookie dough

Butterscotch and Chocolate Chips added

Dried Sour Cherries and Chocolate Chips added

Butterscotch-Chip on the left and Chocolate Cherry on the right

That’s why I first decided to make cherry chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. But Goose hates cherries (or any fruit for that matter) and whenever I bake, I like to be able to share the goodies with him. So I decided to also make chocolate chip butterscotch cookies, so that he could have some too. Instead of making two entirely different cookies, I wanted to make a basic dough that could suit us both. Hence, these super-adaptable oatmeal cookies were the perfect fix. Simply divide the batter into two (or more) bowls and add whatever mix-ins you want.

Butterscotch-Chip cookies ready to bake

Chocolate-Cherry cookies ready to bake

Chocolate-Cherry Cookies (for me)

Butterscotch-Chip Cookies (for Goose)

Chocolate-Cherry and Butterscotch-Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted From Cooking Light

Serves 60

Ingredients

  •  2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  •  2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 2/3 cup butterscotch chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line your baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flours, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar until smooth.
  4. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Then add the vanilla and eggs and beat until combined.
  5. Divide the dough among two bowls and add cherries and one cup of the chocolate chips to one bowl. Add butterscotch chips and the remaining chocolate chips to the other bowl.
  6. Drop tablespoons of the dough two inches apart onto the baking trays from the first step.
  7. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks. Repeat until you have baked all of the cookies.

Other possible flavor variations…the sky’s the limit!

  • Pistachio Ginger
  • Salted Caramel
  • Apple Pie (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and freeze dried apples)
  • Peanut butter
  • Pumpkin Pie (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pumpkin puree)
  • Maple Pecan
  • Rocky Road (mini marshmallows, walnuts, and chocolate chips)
  • Fluffernutter (peanut butter chips and marshmallow fluff)

Miscelaneous May

29 May

After five months of blogging, I’ve come to realize the importance of editing. That’s why many of my photos and ideas for blog posts didn’t actually make it onto ModernAlice. Even still, I wanted to share with you some of the exciting things that I’ve been up to this month. So here’s a compilation of random photos from the past month.

My adorable pooch, Cassie, blending in with the stuffed animals

Making a rainbow at Prom

A recycled owl…how’s that for nature

Architectural paintings at the art show

More recycling with bottle cap furniture

Fun with the Wizard of Oz

Satirical art at its best

Having a blast with my friends at Grad Night where we, the graduating seniors, got to have Disneyland all to ourselves until the wee hours of the morning

My youngest sister having the time of her life climbing the pile of bean bags at my other sister’s outdoor movie party

The perfect tutu that would make any little girl’s dreams come true

Adorable vintage shop on Abbot Kinney filled with vintage treasures

Playful architecture on Abbot Kinney

Awesome cork chair…I want one of these in my home one day

ChakWave juices that blend herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables to appeal to the seven main chakra energy points

Nobuhiro Sato’s concrete mansion planter that experiments with the ideas of architecture to create lifestyle design accessories

Incredible brick and mortar street art on Abbot Kinney

Unique DIY succulent arrangements and terrariums at The Juicy Leaf

Adorable puppy bowls that would make any spoonful of soup or ice cream even better

Cute wooden bears with absolutely no purpose other than to make you smile

Draw Me A House: A Book of Colouring in, Ideas and Architectural Inspiration

Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony with my mom for Mother’s Day

 So lovely readers, what exciting things have you done this month? What do you have planned for next month’s summer fun?